This Holiday week reminded me of what we all say the Christmas spirit is about . . .
I spent Christmas Eve in Jackson Hole meeting and skiing with old and new friends. By the time I hit the road home, massive flakes were falling from the dark sky, I was stuck behind a snow plow flashing red, blue, and yellow lights which made me feel like I was in a rave... While slowly moving in the blizzard, for some reason I visualized what I would do if I came across someone in a car wreck, reminded myself of my wilderness first responder course, etc.
Half way home, I saw a car run off the road stuck in deep snow. After no one in front of me even tapped their breaks, I turned around to at least see if they needed to use my phone. By the time I got out of my car, a girl in a tshirt was running towards me and immediately hugged me. It was about 8pm and she had 7 hours to drive still. She hadn’t called anyone because she couldn’t afford a tow truck and didn’t know anyone in the area. I told her if we couldn’t get her out on our own, I’d call a friend near by with a truck and I’d stay with her until we got it figured out.
As a skier, I naturally had a shovel in my car, so we dug around the tires, tried some pushing,etc. No motion. I called my dad who would know someone with a truck near us. He was about to drive 30 minutes with his truck when another couple and a policeman pulled over. We decided to try pushing with all four of us. To keep the mood light, I cheered for everyone to burn off those Christmas cookies as the car creeped up the hill onto the highway again.
For records, the cop asked who everyone was. I said I was just a friendly stranger, but he said he recognized me. I told him I grew up in Pinedale and was Doc Johnson’s granddaughter. The other stranger chimed in saying how much she loved Doc Johnson because he donated his horse sleighs to the preschool she teaches at for the Christmas parade. Then the cop got excited explaining how my mom is his daughter’s science teacher.
The girl whose car ran off the road kept hugging me saying thank you for stopping. I gave her my phone number and invited her to stay with my family if she was too tired to drive the rest of the way. At 2:30am, I got a text saying she made it home and Merry Christmas.
I made it home to my family late that night, and they had waited for me to eat dinner. These are the reasons I love being from a small western town. The lifestyle embodies what the holiday season is truly about. Caring for each other (friend, foe or stranger ), finding joy from our experiences rather than material items, and being grateful for the beauty, fun and genuine camaraderie in life!